Playoff-like intensity continues for Yanks, Twins
Minnesota right-hander Jake Odorizzi will try for his 12th victory of the season when the Twins face the New York Yankees in the rubber game of their hard-fought three-game series on Wednesday night in Minneapolis.
Odorizzi (11-4, 3.18 ERA) is 7-8 with a 4.06 ERA in 17 games and 16 career starts against the Yankees. He shut out New York on two hits over six innings in a 7-3 victory at Yankee Stadium on May 4.
Left-hander J.A. Happ (8-5, 4.86), who was the losing pitcher that afternoon, will start for the Yankees. Happ, who gave up four runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings in that contest, is 3-5 with a 5.04 ERA in nine career games and eight starts against Minnesota. However, in Target Field, the Twins’ home since 2010, Happ is 3-2 with a 3.99 ERA in five starts.
There has been a definite playoff atmosphere in the first two games of the series. The Twins won the opener 8-6 on Monday night, belting five home runs and turning a triple play in the process.
The Yankees won Tuesday night 14-12 in 10 innings in a contest that included five lead changes in the final three innings and almost a sixth as center fielder Aaron Hicks made a highlight-reel, game-saving diving catch on a Max Kepler liner into the gap in left-center with the bases loaded to end the contest and preserve New York’s win.
“Of course, for a game like this, it has to end in dramatic fashion,” said Hicks, who also hit a two-run go-ahead homer in the ninth. “I was just running hard and wanted to make sure I made the catch, and I was able to.”
Hicks made a full-extension dive on the play, doing a belly-flop on the warning track.
“I knew Kepler hit it pretty well, but what an amazing play to end an amazing game,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Didi Gregorius became the first shortstop in American League history to have five hits and seven RBIs in a game. Gregorius finished 5-for-5 with a walk, a three-run home run and a pair of two-run doubles.
The Twins, meanwhile, hit four more home runs to increase their major-league-leading total to 191, including two by Miguel Sano, the latter a 457-foot two-run blast off Zack Britton that gave Minnesota an 11-10 lead in the eighth.
“Every game matters,” said Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, who finished 3-for-6 with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBIs.
“Even though it’s still July, that’s a postseason game right there. They’re going out there and giving their best, and we’re going out there and giving our best. It just came down to who wanted it more at the end. We battled and clawed and came out with a win.
“We’ll see them again down the road (in the playoffs) for sure.”
“I think it was a tremendous effort by our players,” said Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli, who was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the eighth inning. “I don’t think we could be any prouder of the effort that we got from our players. Our players do not quit. They never quit.”
Tuesday night’s win could be a costly one for the Yankees, however, as catcher Gary Sanchez left after the eighth inning with a groin injury suffered while trying to beat out a grounder. Boone said Sanchez, who has 24 home runs and 58 RBIs, will get an MRI before the game on Wednesday and that a trip to the injured list was “possible.”
–Field Level Media
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